Septic tanks contribute to nutrient overload in waterways

OKEECHOBEE — A potential source of water pollution could be in your backyard. Nationwide about 20 percent of American homes use Onsite sewage treatment and disposal systems (OSTDS), more commonly known as septic tanks. In most states, septic tanks are used in rural areas where it is not cost effective to run sewer lines to […]

Lake still suffering from Hurricane Irma damage

OKEECHOBEE — In September 2017, Hurricane Irma churned the waters of the big lake, ripped up aquatic vegetation and left the shoreline littered with uprooted plants. After the storm, drainage from the north caused the lake to rise rapidly, drowning the nearshore vegetation with high water. The lake’s ecosystem recovery can’t start until the water […]

‘Haters’ blame farmers for algae blooms

OKEECHOBEE — Political campaigns and social media continue to keep the summer algae blooms in the news and continue to confuse the public, according to comments at the Sept. 6, Water Resources Analysis Coalition meeting, held at the South Florida Water Management District Headquarters in West Palm Beach “The forums are wild. It’s crazy out […]

Irma sent phosphorus overload into lake

OKEECHOBEE — Lake Okeechobee is suffering from “weather whiplash,” thanks to Hurricane Irma. At the Sept. 6 Water Resources Analysis Coalition meeting at the South Florida Water Management District Office in West Palm Beach, Drew Bartlett, Deputy Secretary Florida Department of Environmental Protection Office of Ecosystem Restoration, said the phosphorus load into Lake Okeechobee for […]

Human waste contributes to nutrient overload

OKEECHOBEE — Residuals. Biosolids. Outfall. Calling human waste by any other name does not make it smell sweeter … or reduce the nutrient load … or lessen the impact on Florida’s environmentally-sensitive waters, of the excrement flushed away by Florida’s 21 million residents and 113 million annual visitors. Ever wonder what happens to the “waste” […]

Mast introduces legislation to keep lake levels lower

OKEECHOBEE — On Sept. 4, Congressman Brian Mast, who is seeking re-election in Florida’s 18th District, announced the introduction of new legislation he calls the “Stop Harmful Discharges Act.” If passed by Congress, the act could change the criteria used by U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to release water from Lake Okeechobee. “The Army Corps […]

Want to stop algae blooms? Stop feeding the algae

OKEECHOBEE — The cyanobacterial blooms that have plagued South Florida this summer have led to protests from the public, promises from politicians and blame (mostly targeted at farmers and Lake Okeechobee) from the coastal media. But amid all of the slogans, sound bites and allegations, maybe we’re asking the wrong question. Instead of asking where […]

Lake Okeechobee coverage mired in misinformation

OKEECHOBEE — Misinformation, partial truths, vague but colorful descriptions and puzzling statements plague media coverage of the second largest freshwater lake within the continental United States. Political spin by candidates for local, state and national office add to the confusion about the water released from Lake Okeechobee, and the part those releases play in the […]

Brown tide to blame for manatee deaths

OKEECHOBEE — Attempts to blame manatee deaths (along with all other water problems in South Florida) on freshwater releases from Lake Okeechobee were thwarted Aug. 17, at a meeting of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and Congressman Brian Mast. Larry Williams with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service said the primary interest of Fish […]

Mast argues for lower lake level

OKEECHOBEE — Congressman Brian Mast’s proposal to lower Lake Okeechobee to 8 ft. in the dry season to prevent wet season releases to the coastal estuaries was the topic of discussion at a U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Jacksonville District briefing on Aug. 17 in Stuart City Hall. Ernie Marks, South Florida Water Management District […]